Acne is a chronic or long-term skin condition that is characterized by frequent breakouts with lots of pus-filled pimples. It is often tempting to pop a pimple, but popping them won’t necessarily be the treatment you want, it might even make things worse. So before you pop your next acne pimple, here is what you need to know.
CAUSES OF ACNE PIMPLES
Your skin has tiny holes known as pores, that could easily get blocked, either by over-production of oil, bacteria, dead skin cells, or dirt which eventually leads to the formation of acne pimples. Your sebaceous gland (oil gland) secretes oil called sebum, which travels up the hair, out of the pores, and onto your skin. this is meant to keep your skin lubricated and soft, but in a case where excess oil is secreted.
It could lead to:
- Blocked pores
- Accumulation of dead skin cells in your pores
- Build up of bacteria in your pores
When this happens, bacteria grow in the clogged pores, and oil can’t escape anymore, acne is then formed. Although acne doesn’t cause any serious health problems, it can still be painful and contribute to emotional distress, especially when it leaves scars on your face or other visible body parts.
SYMPTOMS OF ACNE PIMPLES
You may get a pimple or 2 once in a while. If this is your case, then you don’t have acne. Remember, ane is a long-term skin condition and can be found almost anywhere on the body, but you’ll mostly find them on your face, neck, back shoulders, and chest.
Here is some indication that you may have acne:
- Hyperpigmentation of the skin, including dark patches or spots and redness
- Swelling and inflammation
- Pain and tenderness when touched or not
- Sometimes scarring
TYPES OF ACNE PIMPLES
- Whiteheads: They are flesh-colored acne that is formed as raised bumps under the skin’s surface
- Blackheads: They have darker appearances, formed on the surface of the skin
- Papules: These are small raised bumps caused by inflamed or infected hair follicles
- Pastules: They are also red in appearance, but with pus at their tips
- Nodules: They develop beneath the surface of the skin and are usually painful lumps
- Cysts: They are larger lumps beneath the skin, contain pus, and are often painful
WHEN IS IT OK TO POP ACNE PIMPLES?
Popping an acne pimple though sometimes painful, could feel good too, and can also lead to skin damage, scarring, and even infection. So if you can, resist the urge to pop them, but if you can’t, then to avoid skin damage of any kind, it is safest to pop your acne pimples if they are not inflamed.
There are only 2 types of acne pimples that are not inflamed: Whiteheads and blackheads, which forms when the pores of the skin become clogged by excess oil and dead skin cells become trapped in hair follicles. They are easier to pop since their contents are open or close to the skin’s surface.
But once your acne pimples are inflamed, they are either papules, pastules, nodules, or cysts, don’t try to pop them, because they are deeper in the skin and more likely to cause skin damage.
Contact a dermatologist to know what type of acne pimples you have and if it is any of the inflamed types, they may perform an extraction or an incision to drill out the content with specialized instruments. They may offer corticosteroid injections which can help to shrink nodules or cysts and also relieve pain.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU POP ACNE PIMPLES?
When you pop your acne pimples, you push debris or bacteria further into your skin which leads to redness (inflammation), pain, more pimples, and more swelling. There is also the risk of bacteria on your fingers getting into your skin pores and infecting them.
Another thing that happens when you pop your acne pimple is that it could lead to pits that bleed and become scabs and eventually leaving permanent scars when they finally heal. They can also cause hyperpigmentation of the skin.
WHAT ARE BLACKHEADS?
Just as the name says, blackheads are black spots or bumps on your skin that are caused by clogged hair follicles. They are also called open comedones. Comedones are the skin-colored bumps that form when you have pimples. In this case, these comedones contain follicles beneath your skin with very large openings that become clogged with sebum.
Blackheads appear black because of the chemical reaction that happens under the skin with sebum. If the skin over the bump opens, oxygen gets in, melanin is oxidized, and then turns the clogged pores to black.
Blackheads are usually caused due to over-production of oil by the skin, which can happen during hormonal shifts such as puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy. You’ll most likely notice the spots on your face, especially on the nose and the chin, and they could also appear on your back, chest, neck, arms, and shoulders.
ACNE PIMPLE POPPING BLACKHEADS
Dermatologists don’t recommend popping or squeezing acne pimples, but just as we have said, to reduce the risk of skin damage, if you must pop a pimple, the safest time to do so is if it isn’t inflamed and blackheads are non-inflamed acne pimples. However, there are several over-the-counter (OTC) treatments and also natural remedies that can be used to safely pop or remove blackheads.
ACNE PIMPLE POPPING BLACKHEADS TRICKS
Not everyone can safely pop blackheads, you need proper techniques to avoid permanent acne scars, painful acne, or infection. But if you’re determined to pop your blackheads yourself, then here are some acne pimple popping blackheads tricks that could help minimize risks:
- To avoid bacteria infection from your hands, wash them thoroughly with warm water, soap, and a fingernail brush. If you have a plastic or latex glove, it will be preferable to put them on.
- Using a tissue or a clean cotton gauze as a barrier between your hands and the blackhead itself, apply pressure on the clogged pore to pop it.
- Don’t press so hard that you bruise yourself. Rock your fingers back and forth around the pore if it still doesn’t pop. If you’re still unable to pop it after these steps, you may need to give your skin some time to recover before trying again.
- After you’ve succeeded in popping the blackheads, clean the area with a mild astringent or toner that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to help kill harmful bacteria and keep your pores free of debris that caused the blackheads in the first place.
ACNE PIMPLE POPPING BLACKHEADS ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS
Instead of popping your blackheads, which if not done properly and carefully may have some consequences.
There are safer alternative treatments such as:
1. Acne Extraction
Although it is rarely the first choice of action to treat blackheads, it is a safe way to get rid of them. it involves using sterile and specialized instruments known as blackheads extractors to get rid of blackheads. These tools are usually made of metal and have a small open loop at their ends.
This treatment is best performed by a dermatologist. They will center the loop over the blackhead, press down on it and if the plug does not pop out, they will use a sliding motion while pressing the loop to encourage the blackhead to come out. They will then inject the blackhead with a corticosteroid to speed up the healing and reduce the risk of /scarring.
After the treatment, you’ll need to follow a skin-care routine to prevent recurrence and also keep yourself from touching, or picking at your skin as this can interrupt the healing process and worsen the case.
2. Natural Remedies
A review of research suggested that using the following natural remedies may help reduce blackheads in some people:
- Following a low-glycemic diet
- Applying tea tree oil
- Eating bee pollen venom
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON’T POP ACNE PIMPLES?
Naturally, acne pimples won’t stay forever on your face, so if you don’t touch them or pop them, they will fade away on their own without leaving a scar or pit. To help with the fading away, you may ice the area to reduce redness, apply topical acne treatment to promote clearing and if you notice that it is ready to pop on its own, to help drain it naturally, you could apply a warm compression to the area.
If your blackheads persist even with gentle face washing and use of OTC treatment, or you notice that it is getting worse, it may be time to see a doctor because sometimes, what may look like a blackhead may be an abscess, a start of a new skin infection or a sebaceous filament which is not a blackhead but looks like it and you can only tell when you consult a doctor.
Also, see a doctor if you notice that your acne pimples are large and painful as it could be a cyst or any inflamed acne pimple and you should never try to pop them because doing so can cause more harm than good.